Keywords: Algorithmic Fairness, Causality, Dynamic Modeling, Long-term Fairness
TL;DR: We formulate and investigate a long-term fairness notion that captures decision-distribution interplay via a detailed modeling over both observed and latent causal factors.
Abstract: The pursuit of long-term fairness involves the interplay between decision-making and the underlying data generating process. In this paper, through causal modeling with a directed acyclic graph (DAG) on the decision-distribution interplay, we investigate the possibility of achieving long-term fairness from a dynamic perspective. We propose Tier Balancing, a technically more challenging but more natural notion to achieve in the context of long-term, dynamic fairness analysis. Different from previous fairness notions that are defined purely on observed variables, our notion goes one step further, capturing behind-the-scenes situation changes on the unobserved latent causal factors that directly carry out the influence from the current decision to the future data distribution. Under the specified dynamics, we prove that in general one cannot achieve the long-term fairness goal only through one-step interventions. Furthermore, in the effort of approaching long-term fairness, we consider the mission of "getting closer to" the long-term fairness goal and present possibility and impossibility results accordingly.
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